When it starts getting cold, ice starts to form and if it forms on your driveway it can create a whole new morning obstacle course. But how can you deice your driveway and how can you prevent ice from forming in the future?
1. Deice Concrete Driveways With Salt
The tried and true method of trying to deice your driveway with salt can be very effective but can also seriously damage your driveway.
If your driveway is made of concrete, the effects of putting salt on it’s surface really depend on the quality of the concrete put down. If the concrete is thin in any places, deicing salts will take advantage of that and further weaken the integrity of these thin areas. Salt water (salt should always be applied in solution form) tends to burrow into the gaps and cracks in your concrete and once it refreezes, it expands, causing these cracks to expand with it. If the surface you are applying the salt water to is concrete and was mixed, finished and cured properly deicing your drive in this way should be no problem. On the other hand if you are unsure, which is probably the case, or if you know that your driveway is starting to wear, go for one of the other methods below.
Applying the salt water is super easy.
First, use a shovel and remove as much snow as possible if there is any. The salt water solution will only burrow so deep into the ice/snow so you want to make sure it’s able to deice your driveway and not just melt some surface snow. Mix the salt with some water in a bucket or into a seed spreader. Pour the solution over the effected area and the ice should dissolve just like that.
If you are really onto it, deicing your driveway can be way easier if you lay a bed of the deicing salt onto your driveway prior to the snow fall. This makes it very hard for ice to stick to the surface. This means all that should be left after a cold night or some heavy snow is a layer of slush on the surface of your driveway. This depends of course on how much snow ends up landing that night.
2. Deice Asphalt Driveways With Salt
If you have an asphalt driveway, you are in luck. These surfaces are far easier to deice with salt and unlike concrete, the salt does not really effect asphalt.
Contrary to what you have probably heard, asphalt is engineered to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle and is not affected by salt or other deicing agents. That is because asphalt is a combination of stones, sand and petroleum. This is all mixed in set proportions to ensure that the needs of the surrounding area are met.
Just a little note, driveway salts are typically pretty bad for the environment. The runoff can kill the surrounding plant life and once the water gets into the waterways it raises their acidity (acid content).
Applying the salt water is super easy.
First, use a shovel and remove as much snow as possible if there is any. The salt water solution will only burrow so deep into the ice/snow. Then, mix the salt with some water in a bucket or into a seed spreader. Pour the solution over the effected area and the ice should dissolve just like that
If you are really onto it, driving deicing can be way easier if you lay a bed of the deicing salt onto your driveway prior to the snow fall. This makes it very hard for ice to stick to the surface. This means all that should be left after a cold night or some heavy snow is a layer of lush on the surface of your driveway. This depends of course on how much snow ends up landing that night.
3. Deice Your Driveway With Heat Mats
Heat mats are probably the best hands off methods to get ice off your driveway surface. However, they are pretty pricey.
Heat mats come in many different forms but typically they are either a set of coils or a mat that you place on top of the icy surface. Plug in the mat, let it heat up and just watch that ice melt. We are not to sure how much the electricity bill will be for using one these but it will vary according to how long you use it for and how much of your driveway needs deicing.
All you need to do with heat mats is clear away enough snow so that all that remains on the surface is ice and maybe a thin layer of snow fall. The more snow you clear away the less of time it will take for the heat mat to do their job.
Once you clear the snow, lay down your heat mat on the icy surface and that ice should melt off your driveway in no time.
4. Deicing Liquid Formulas
Deicing formulas such as FDC’s liquid calcium solution are great for driveway deicing as long as they don’t hurt the surrounding environment.
These formulas are basically a concoction of chemicals designed to both eat away and prevent ice from forming. There are few things you need to look out for before you buy one these liquids.
Is It Good For Your Driveway?
Some of these solutions can leave nasty stains on your driveway surface or, if they are tracked into your house, can stain your carpet. Read the reviews for deicing formulas, see what other people think. If everything checks out, your good to go.
Is The Deicing Formula Environmentally Friendly?
Unlike de-icing salts, some formulas won’t hurt the plant life when the water and the solution drains away. We really believe in protecting and maintaining the environment so we only recommend products that have as little impact as possible.
Pet Safe Deicing Formula?
If you have pets, make sure the formula is non-toxic. Some of these deicing formulas are notorious for burning the soles of dogs and cats feet. As well as this, if you have kids and they love playing in the snow, you want to make sure your kids aren’t playing in any toxic slush.
5. True Grit & Sand
Not really a deicing solution, but sand or anything with a bit of grit like kitty litter is great if you need to prevent slipping.
When you put a bit sand or anything gritty, onto the ice, it sticks. Once these two substances stick together, your driveway suddenly has a load of traction. The only issue with this solution is the aftermath.
Once the thaw comes round, the ice melts and mixes with all the grit and sand and it can be a real hard time cleaning it all off. Although, if you have a brush and are willing to use a bit of muscle, sweeping it up shouldn’t be a problem.